Study finds improvements in cardiovascular health among South Asians who receive culturally relevant coaching

South Asian Heart Center study enrolls 703 patients

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Culturally competent coaching may be effective in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease among South Asian patients, according to a new study presented as a poster at an American Heart Association conference taking place in New Orleans.

The study, conducted at the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, examined 703 patients at the heart center who opted to enroll in the heart health coaching program. Of the patients, 145 were partially coached, 558 were fully coached and 33 did not participate.

The coaching was based on participants' receptiveness to phone calls or emails from trained volunteers, who also provided culturally competent health education on diet, physical activity and stress reduction. Patients' levels of cholesterol were measured after periods of not eating. The fully coached group showed significant improvements in cholesterol levels, while improvements also appeared in the partially coached group, and the non-coached group showed no significant differences.

"From a clinical standpoint, for every 1 mg decrease in [low-density lipoprotein cholesterol], there is a 2% decrease in that person's risk of a cardiovascular event, which further emphasizes the importance of coaching," South Asian Heart Center founder and medical director Cesar Molina said. "Physicians have limited time to provide patients with this type of detailed follow-through, so coaching can prove to be an effective resource for them to achieve improved outcomes in their patients."

A secondary analysis of cholesterol levels and body mass index in 492 South Asian participants, nearly 22% of whom were women, showed improvements in both measures.

"Study results showed that even partial coaching could have health benefits for patients, as seen with improved total cholesterol and LDL levels," South Asian Heart Center executive director Ashish Mathur said. "Our heart health coaches are non-medically trained volunteers who monitor and motivate over phone and email, making this a cost-effective method for risk reduction in a vulnerable population."


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